Gidimt’en evict Coastal GasLink from Wet’suwet’en territory
Members of the Gidimt’en clan ordered all Coastal GasLink employees to leave the Wet’suwet’en territory in the interior of British Columbia on Sunday in a move the company said contradicts a court order.
Starting at 5 a.m. Sunday, the clan told workers they had eight hours to “peacefully evacuate” the area before the main road into the Lhudis Bin territory was closed at 1 p.m.
The development comes 50 days after the establishment of Coyote Camp, which halted efforts by Coastal GasLink to build an essential part of the 670-kilometre pipeline that would transport natural gas from Dawson Creek in northeastern B.C. to Kitimat in the province’s North Coast region.
Sleydo’, whose English name is Molly Wickham, is the spokesperson for the Gidimt’en Checkpoint, which controls access to the part of the Wet’suwet’en territory.
“They have been violating this law for too long,” she said.
In response to the eviction, Coastal GasLink said in a press release that a B.C. Supreme Court injunction issued Jan. 7, 2020 allows the company to have “continued safe access” to the area.
“This is in the same region where the group has illegally blockaded a Coastal GasLink worksite, in defiance of the B.C. Supreme Court injunction, since Sept. 25,” the release said.
“Our primary concern continues to be for the safety of our workforce and the public. Coastal GasLink has continued to seek dialogue to resolve this situation, however, to date these offers have not resulted in any response. We are actively monitoring this evolving situation.”
Jennifer Wickham, Gidimt’en Checkpoint media coordinator, said Gidimt’en Chief Dini ze’ Woos was in contact with officials from Coastal GasLink and that the clan had initially anticipated “full compliance.”